Monday, February 20, 2012

Strong women; fine artists

No one else in the history of photography has captured this breathtaking moment between the appearance and disappearance of things like Lillian Bassman.—Richard Avedon
Fashion and fine art photographer Lillian Bassman (above left) died last week at 94. The New York Times' ran a slideshow of her work and many websites turned to the Abrams book Lillian Bassman: Women for striking examples of her edgy, elegant images. (A 2009 Times article by Ginia Bellafante is also absorbing: “Being a woman gave her an advantage, Ms. Bassman felt. 'The models thought about this a lot,' she said. “It was a sexually very different thing when they worked with men. They felt a charge. They were posing for men. I caught them when they were relaxed, natural, and I spent a lot of time talking to them about their husbands, their lovers, their babies.”) Thanks to our photography guru, Judy Rolfe, for alerting us.
We are very jazzed about the upcoming Cindy Sherman exhibit in the Big Apple. In announcing the show, the editors of Photo District News' "photo of the day" showed some choice samples of her work, including the photographs below. It has been 15 years since Sherman has had such a major exhibit:
Beginning February 26, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is presenting a “retrospective survey” of her artwork, which will feature over 180 photographs made from the mid-1970s through the present. The exhibit will feature some of Sherman’s most interesting and beloved self-portrayed characters including the fictional film actresses of the 1950s and 60s from “Untitled Film Stills”; common subjects from Old Masters paintings, such as aristocrats and milkmaids; and her over-the-top “society” women. Also on display is her most recent work: murals that depict a Sherman character in color against a black-and-white landscape painting.

Of further interest is our current title Joyce Tenneson: A Life in Photography 1968–2008, with many ethereal and archetypal images. You can see images from each phase of her career here, including "Amazing Men" and "Wise Women." Photo below by Tim Mantoani from the "Behind Images" project.


  1. Thanks for the reminder to read "The Dovekeepers!" Also, love the Behind Images project, thanks for hipping me to it...

  2. Love the photo of the girl wearing the pillbox hat in the big city. She looks confused and annoyed!!!

  3. These are all absolutely beautiful! I love black and white much more raw and uncomplicated.

  4. It is not a surpise to find out the Lillian Bassman danced with Martha Graham when she was younger. Her photographs have so much movement in them. The compositions make you feel like the subjects are about to fall out of the shot. The black & white is so rich.

  5. I found another huge cache of her work showing the above qualities at